The chairmen of the National Economic Commission said Saturday the nation needs the political will to accept either new taxes or reduced spending or a combination of both to pull down the massive federal budget deficit.
Both Robert Strauss, former chairman of the Democratic Party, and Drew Lewis, former Republican Transportation Secretary, said the nation must control the federal deficit."Everybody that who wants a deficit reduction wants it not done on their block," Strauss, co-chairman of the commission, told a group of top businessmen. "People don't recognize it's a crisis."
Lewis, the other co-chairman, added, "We cannot continue to be a world power and keep eating our lunch to the tune of $200 billion a year."
Lewis said the federal budget deficit, which the administration places at $152 billion for the spending year just ended, is actually $200 billion when the costs of social security and other entitlement programs are included.
"If you want to cut spending, you're going to have to look at defense and social security," said Lewis, chairman and chief executive officer of Union Pacific Corp. "No one has an interest in a tax increase but it's one of the alternatives you have to deal with."